Taking on the role of caregiver for a senior parent is one of the most difficult and emotionally complex things someone can experience. If you are this in category, a lot of your time will be spent ensuring your loved one is well taken care of. However, it can come at a cost to your own health and welfare.
To ensure you’re in the best mindset possible, here are five ways to stay sane when caregiving for a senior loved one.
Make Time for Sleep
If there is one thing you must take time for when caregiving, it’s a good night’s sleep. Without enough rest, you won’t be in the right headspace to provide sufficient care for your senior parent. With so much of your day and night being taken up with caregiving, allocating time for rest and relaxation is essential. A good night’s sleep will recharge your batteries and give you more energy to get through the next day.
There are invaluable benefits of exercise that cannot be ignored, especially for caregivers. Taking 30 minutes to go for a run or having a gym session can get your heart and blood pumping, and it will release endorphins in the brain which can elevate your mood. Whatever activity interests you most, make sure to find room for physical exercise.
Speak to Loved Ones
As a caregiver, the daily stress and endurance you’ll be under can be immense. This means you need to have a strong support network around you to help you get through it. If you have siblings, don’t hesitate to talk to them. If you all pull together and take turns with caregiving duties, this can take the weight off your shoulders. It can be emotionally draining seeing your senior parent’s health decline, so having people to talk to can be a huge help.
Consider Respite Care
If you’re the sole caregiver of your senior parent, something has to give if you aren’t taking care of your own health and needs. Don’t feel guilty about having some time away from your loved one. Respite care is offered by facilities like Monarch Communities, which can benefit you, your senior parent, and the whole family. Respite care gives you the chance to rest and recharge and relieves feelings of exhaustion and frustration.
Do Things You Enjoy
While you may be more than happy to take on the role of caregiver for your senior parent, you need to remember you have your own life to lead too. This means you should have regular breaks from your duties and find things you enjoy doing. Whether you love playing sports, gardening, seeing friends, or binge-watching Netflix, having something to take your mind off things can reduce stress levels and help you feel more in control.
Being a caregiver can be emotionally and physical exhausting. Therefore, to keep you in good spirits and ensure your senior parent is well looked after, there are lots of things you can do alongside your duties to keep you in check.